According to the World Sports Encyclopedia, in 2003 there were around 8,000 different sports in all of the 195 countries combined. Some of them are team sports, while others are individual sports. For some you need a ball, water, flexibility, a horse, etc. but for others, you only need yourself and your empty hands. Karate is one of them.
I’ve done sports my whole life, probably because I could never stay put as a kid. I tried sports raging from Ballet to Rugby, from Tennis to Surfing, but out of all of the sports I have done and do only one stole my heart; Karate or the art of the empty hand. One day, when I was in 1st grade, my mom picked me up after school and realized I was crying. I was being bullied. That day I told her I wanted to take Karate, so I could defend myself. Little did I know that decision was going to greatly impact my life. Soon after, my parents took me to a little Karate school or Dojo near my home and I never left.
Honestly, I can’t remember what happened with the bully and I do remember what happened to me after that day. My self-confidence improved dramatically and I learned what I was worth. I learned that violence was never the answer and that I should always refrain from violent behavior. I was able to make friends more easily and express myself. As a kid, Karate changed my life and to an extent, saved it. Cheered me up when I was down, kept me healthy and out of trouble, taught me how to defend myself and others, and how to seek perfection of character. Hold on now, that doesn’t mean I never left, because after roughly 5yr. I walked away. I thought I didn’t need Karate anymore and was ready to move on. For 6 months I tried other sports and hobbies, hung out with friends and families, and did any other thing that my little heart desire. Life was ok. One day, however, I felt empty, something was missing. My day weren’t so joyful as I thought, only monotonous. I was confused and estranged to that feeling, so I prayed. A few days later I overheard my younger brother told my mom that he wanted to get back into martial arts and it clicked. Could that be the thing I had been missing? I few days later I was back at the Dojo, my brother however forgot all about that conversation. I never left after that.
I’ve heard a lot of things throughout my life to discourage me from practicing. “Karate is too violent” “Karate isn’t for girls” “Karate will never give you a future”, however being the stubborn little thing I was, I never listened, thank God for that. Karate taught me that beauty is on the eye of the beholder and that the art is universal. It taught me we are all equal under that white Gi (karate uniform) and that a black belt just means that the person never gave up. The art helped me turn my life around, focus on my goals, and to never stop until I accomplished them. Showed me how to be patient but hungry, to strive for greatness but stay humble, how to listen to my bodies and the signs in front of me, how to be fearful and fearless at the same time, but most importantly how to be human.
I stayed because of all the things I learned, things I’ve done and people I’ve met. Karate is so much more than just some punches and kicks, it’s a way of life; when one manages to apply karate into our everyday lives, it’s when we can truly see its beauty. I’m really happy God put Karate in my life because I wouldn’t change the last 14 years for anything. So I ask you this, instead of thinking “why Karate?” dare to ask yourself “why not Karate?”.